Santa Claus is something of an icon, a figurehead of mythology, a bearded do-gooder and thus a new target for author Grant Morrison to explore. Through Klaus #1, the writer works alongside Dan Mora to re-imagine the early days of Klaus in newest comic book with Boom! Studios.
Klaus‘s tagline: “How Santa Claus began” — gives way to a cinematic title sequence. Morrison wisely leaves space for the incredible art of Dan Mora continuing the cinematic feeling, as the comic leaves of plenty of space open before the dialogue sucks readers into the story. This opening sequence sets the tone of this new series as Morrison taps into the mythical elements that lurked in the background of some of his previous works like Joe The Barbarian and of course, All-Star Superman.
Initially, Klaus appears to be very pedestrian for a Morrison story. However, towards the end of the first issue, the author soaks the story with more mythological aspects and slight references to Yule, keeping readers wondering how this Klaus turns into Santa Claus. Taking established motifs and turning them on their head is something that Morrison is used to with superhero work — having the author craft a mythic narrative with a new interpretation should excite fans looking for the author to add something interesting back towards Christmas.
Mora’s kinetic artwork, layered with lines and emotions, adds an energetic charge to the story. There’s quite a bit of violence and action that Mora frames in the story. He tells the action at cinematic angles that don’t detract from the storytelling within the comic itself. A double-page spread in the story adds just a few additional panels to the narrative to keep the story going.
In addition, Klaus’ colors, also contributed by Mora, are one of the best things about it. This first issue is covered in beautiful white snow with lots of muted blacks and browns rendered on stone buildings and rooftops. Later on in the tale, the palette changes to reflect the background of the villainous royal family born of privilege. Then, at the end of the story, Mora changes the entire palette again, shading beautiful landscapes with colors distinctive of of psychedelic ‘60s beauty.
Mora and Morrison both craft something interesting within the space of this first issue, but I would still like to know what is in store for the rest of this comic. The first chapter is being pushed into a couple of different places, and I’m unsure how much of the usual Morrison ideology is going to be embedded within this tale. Lately the writer has been paring down the size of some of his stories not involving superheroes such as 2012’s Happy. With one one chapter out now, it’s hard to get an exact read on what Klaus could or will be — but the simple beginning is a strong enough hook for now. Readers should be interested in what’s next for Klaus and charmed enough by the artwork to pick up further issues.